Kilpatrick case jurors' identities will be kept from public

A judge says the names and hometowns of jurors will only be known by lawyers in the upcoming corruption trial of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.

Federal Judge Nancy Edmunds says she's concerned about the privacy of jurors. At a hearing today, she said jurors will be identified in court by a number in place of their names to everyone except the lawyers.

Edmunds says the jurors' names will be kept secret because of the "intense media and public interest in this case," the Detroit Free Press reports.

Since the 1970s, courts have kept juror identities secret to protect jurors from both the media and the defendants in high-profile cases, like those trying Timothy McVeigh and Ted Kaczynski. Critics say the secrecy limits transparency and can prevent attorneys from properly vetting jurors.

In this case, the attorneys argued that blocking the jurors' names could imply that the jurors need protection from dangerous defendants, reported the Freep

However, Edmunds decided not to disclose the jurors' names, and more than 100 potential jurors will report to the Detroit courthouse on Wednesday to fill out a 22-page questionnaire with more than 100 questions about their views of Kilpatrick, his father, Bernard, and two other defendants.

The Kilpatricks are accused of taking kickbacks and bribes to steer city business to certain contractors, especially pal Bobby Ferguson. Prosecutors call it the "Kilpatrick enterprise."

The jury pool will be trimmed by Sept. 6 when candidates are interviewed in court.

-Elaine Ezekiel, Michigan Radio Newsroom